Good morning, everybody. Excited to be back together. Happy week after Easter, I guess. Is that something we do? I don’t even know. I just wanted to thank the worship team for the music this morning. And you can give a hand. In addition to presenting new songs, they’re also writing a whole bunch of songs. And we’re excited that in the first part of the summer, we’ll probably have an album to be released that you can get on Spotify or whatever you play your music.
So super excited about that will be introducing those songs in the next couple of weeks. We’re pumped about that. I also want to let you know that if you’re a member here are our special offering or outreach offering is going to happen this year in the first week of June. And so you can just be thinking about that and preparing for that. Every year we take up an offering that goes to things that are above and beyond kind of normal ministry work, things that are really for outreach for us reaching the lost in South America and the Caribbean and helping engage in in communities that need really a lot of support in addition to some of the stuff that we do right here that we couldn’t otherwise do if we didn’t.
Because we it’s above and beyond. So I just want to let you guys know that’s coming up in the first week of June. Those are things on the horizon. But today we actually begin a brand new talk that I am very excited about. So if you have a Bible, you can go ahead and turn to John. Chapter one. Since the start of the year, we have been getting back to some of the basics of our faith. And we’ve been spending if you if you’ve been with us over the last couple of months, we spent some time in the character of God.
We talked about Yahweh, Yahweh, the compassionate and gracious God. And I hope that that scripture has been locked in your mind and something that you’re going to be able to connect with throughout the year.
It’s been inspiring to teach on kind of the basics of our faith.
And we’ve been doing this, making kind of a concerted effort to get back to some of the simple truths or to reintroduce some fundamentals, because we believe that in this difficult time, the need for reorientation, the need to get back to the simple ideas of the gospel is crucial for us, because as our culture begins to shift, we need to continue to ground ourselves in the truth of the scriptures, the apostle Paul says in Romans Chapter 10, verse 17, that our faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the good word or through the words about Christ.
That’s where our faith is grounded in, you know, as everything begins to shift or as difficulty continues to rage on, as we’re not sure with what’s on the horizon for us, we need to continue to ground ourselves in the good word of Jesus Christ. And so we know that there is certainly a need to preach to kind of directly to felt needs. But for this next season of our church, we want to continue the theme of articulating and giving language to and priorities to the fundamentals of our faith.
So today we begin an eight week journey that we’re calling practicing the way of Jesus. And I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a series as I am for this one. The problem is that every time I say that, someone says, you said that last time, it’s probably because that’s the way it works for me. The staff and I had been working on what I believed to be a paradigm shifting way of communicating the ancient practice of discipleship.
And so here’s here’s kind of the main point or the salient idea for the entire series. Jesus, even though today we it’s primarily marketed as the Messiah and one hundred percent Jesus is the Messiah.
He was also a rabbi or a teacher. And so even though Christ, Jesus Christ is Lord in terms or rather is Messiah, I mean that we have a chance to find salvation through him. And his teachings on eternity are certainly important. Over the next few weeks, we want to focus on his way, the way that he taught his disciples to live, and more specifically, the invitation of Jesus was to become a Talmud Diem or another word is a disciple.
Another word that we use in the vernacular now is a Christian. Or maybe the most appropriate word would be apprentice. The invitation of Jesus was to become his apprentice.
Come and learn how to live like me, come and learn how to be a human being, come and learn. And in that invitation we find three things. We talked about this several months ago, but we find three things. We find an invitation to be with him spending time with the master to be like him, being transformed into his image and to do what he did to bring his beautiful way into the world.
These three pronged ideas is what we now call discipleship, and it’s really what this series is all about. Jesus’s word, Come Follow Me is an invitation to a brand new way of thinking about the way you live. It’s a brand new way of thinking about life, a life where you and I learn to love our enemies. Where we’re not wracked by anxiety and we’re not piled upon by all of our fears, we live with contentment where we actually are transformed and we help other people to do the same and where we become a part of a family with God as our father.
This is what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a new way to live, a new way to think about life. And if what I’m saying sounds like it’s too lofty, the fact is that this was the invitation of Jesus. Come be with me and learn to live. Today, we’re talking about the very first element being with Jesus. John, chapter one is where we’re going to start. We’re going to read in John chapter one, verse thirty five.
We’re going to bounce around to the book of John. So if you have a Bible, you can go out and turn to kind of follow around with me. If you don’t, no big deal. It’ll be up on the screen. This is John, chapter one, verse thirty five. I want you to listen to what Jesus says when he meets his first disciples. The next day, john was there again with two of his disciples. John is John the Baptizer.
If you’re not familiar with the story of Jesus. Before Jesus was a guy named John the Baptist, John the Baptist came as kind of like a herald for the message of Jesus. John had disciples because he was also a rabbi. And so the next day, John, that’s John the Baptizer, was there with two of his disciples when they saw Jesus passing by he said, look, this is John saying, look, the lamb of God, I love this.
When the two disciples heard him say this, they left John and followed Jesus. I feel bad for John, but that was the point. John was trying to point people to Jesus.
They chose to go with Jesus because they noticed that their disciple or their their rabbi realized that there was someone greater than he was. Verse thirty eight turning around. I love this.
Jesus saw them following and asked, what do you want? An intriguing question. Right. They said, Rabbi, which means teacher, where are you staying verse thirty nine. Come, he replied, and you will see. So they went and saw where he was staying and they spent the day with him. We’re going to skip down to verse forty three. The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee, finding Phillip. He said to him, Follow me.
Phillip like Andrew and Peter was from the town of Bethsaida verse forty five, Philip found Nathaniel and told him, We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law and about whom the prophets also wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nazareth? Can anything good come from there? Nathaniel asked.
Come and see, said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, he said to him, here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit and he goes on to speak to him and eventually Nathaniel realizes that he is, in fact, the Messiah.
It’s really interesting, this line we see over and over again in the calling of the disciples, come and see. Today, that language means come and spend time with me, just come and hang out with me, come and see for yourself the life I have to offer you to put another way. Just come and be with me.
What’s amazing is this come and see was and still is the open invitation of Jesus of Nazareth . Come and see. To those in Jesus’s day and to those of us here today the open invitation to the one who claimed divinity, to the one who healed the sick and the one who raised the dead. Is that same invitation Jesus is telling all of us, hey, just come spend time with me. Come be with me. Sit at my side. See what I do, see what I see what we do as men and women is really as people who want to be apprentices is really rooted on this one idea that we are first to come and see what Jesus is all about, to look at his life and then to figure out who is this, the life I want to lead as well?
And if you’re someone who has been a Christian for a long time, I hope you don’t write me off.
I know that we’re talking about some basic things, but but I think it’s important because it’s wise for us to continue to continuously reassess whether we are actually following what it means we’re actually following God, as opposed to just saying that we’re following this idea of truly following should be revolutionary and should lead you to a life that’s radically different than the way that the rest of the people who you live around, work around, drive around, act like.
And so if you’ve been in the faith for 40 years, this invitation is still open for you to come and be with me.
You might ask, how exactly does this work? We don’t live in a 1st century context. Jesus is not here in the flesh. I can’t actually walk besides Jesus. So how do I do this? How do I be with Jesus? For that? We have to talk a little about the Holy Spirit. You can turn with me to John, chapter 14.
Jesus is ending his ministry. He’s knowing he’s going to leave soon. He begins to talk more and more about the idea that he’s not going to leave his disciples alone because being with him is such an important part of being a disciple that Jesus is making sure they understand that it’s not just that they are with him, but also that they, by extension, can be with God and also with the Holy Spirit. So and so in chapter 14, verse 16, it says this says, I will ask the father and he will give you another advocate.
This is a really slippery word in the Greek to translate. Another way to translate this would be another like me.
Ask and I will give you another, like me or another advocate to help you and to be with you forever. You notice that? Be with you forever.
The spirit of truth. This idea here is again, it’s interesting, right, because again and again, the first and the most important thing that Jesus hammers home to the disciples is the value of spending time with your master. If you are, in fact, someone who’s going to become an apprentice of him, spending time with him. So it’s no coincidence that as Jesus is leaving, he says, I’m going to send another one that’s just like me to spend time with you, to be with you every moment of the day.
He goes on, the world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for you, lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Notice the language. We skip down to verse twenty five. All this I’ve spoken. I’m sorry. While still with you. But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you Verse twenty seven, peace I leave you. My peace I give you. I do not give us the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled. Do not be afraid. Hey, I’m leaving, you have followed me. You have to remember for the disciples what this means, right? They have been walking with Jesus for three years. Every step he took is the step they took. His dust, covered them. They were with him every step of the way.
And he goes, look, I’m leaving, but I’m not leaving you alone. I’m going to get I’m going to send you something. Don’t be afraid. I’m leaving you with something that’s going to bring you peace.
So according to Jesus, the way you and I are to be with him today is to connection with the Holy Spirit. Now, if it sounds too mystical for you, let’s look at a little bit of a different way. Jesus says this and John and John, Chapter 14. But then he continues the same metaphor in John. Chapter 15, John, Chapter 15. We can look at verse one. You guys still with me? You’re here. Amen.
All right, John Chapter 15. Verse one is what it says. I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so it will be even more fruitful.
Look at this next verse. This is verse four. Remain in me. As I also remain in you. No Branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me, remain in me, remain in me, and I will remain in you. This word in the Greek is Menno. It’s a Greek word translated to abide Indore dwell. In one place it’s translated stay at home in.
Stay connected to, he continues, I am the vine, you are the branches, I am the source of your life, right? You are a branch. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit apart from me you can do nothing. Don’t you appreciate the vote of confidence. Apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you will like a branch that is thrown away and withers, such branches are picked up, thrown in the fire and burned remain in me and my word, sorry, and my word remains in you.
Ask whatever you wish. I’m sorry. If you remain in me, my word remains and you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. This is to my father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourself to be my again disciple.
How do you show yourself to be a disciple? It’s remaining connected to the vine, Jesus said in John Chapter eight another way hold to my teachings remain in my teachings then you are truly a disciple. Or my Talmud Diem, right? You see the connection discipleship is about being in the presence of God.
The metaphor is of a branch connected to a vine, a branch connected to the tree of a trunk connected to a tree trunk right in the short little teaching, 10 times, 10 times in this little baby teaching, we hear the word remain remain in me.
What is the point he’s driving home? If you’re a disciple, if you’re a follower of God, then youre first and your primary objective is to remain in the presence of the father, stay connected, rooted in ground yourself, said to yourself, in the teachings or in the presence of God. Here’s a test. How much of your thoughts on a given day are connected to the presence of God? And how much of your given thoughts are connected to the idea that God is with you, in you and among you? He’s saying you need to stay connected, stay connected, and not saying you have to live in a monastery.
He’s not saying go away and just live in a retreat center for the entirety of your life. And here’s the deal, this is the main point of this lesson, everything I’m saying comes back to this idea, but the whole concept is this. I should make this a slide. The whole concept is this. You need to learn to be at two places at one time.
That’s the whole idea.
You have to be eating steak and in the presence of God. Or if you have no money for steak, then eating like a pop tart and in the presence of God. Doing your email, but also in the presence of God. Spending time with your coworkers and in the presence of God. Going on vacation and the presence of God. Mowing the lawn, but also in the presence of God. Doing home chores and in the presence of God. Disciplining your children in the presence of God, taking a test in the presence of God.
The idea is simply this: at all times your brain should be connected to God’s presence because that’s what it means to be a disciple. To be a disciple meant you slept with the master, slept beside the master. It means that you walk with the master, that you eat food with the master. You did everything with your rabbi. And so it means by extension, it means the same thing for us today. Every single moment of the day should be focused in on spending time with God.
I’m at church. I’m also in the presence of God. I’m learning about God, but I’m also in his presence. Holy Spirit, what are you teaching me today? There’s a little pamphlet by a guy named Brother Lawrence, and it’s called it talks about the idea of abiding. It’s called the practice of the presence of God. It’s super great. You can read it in like 20 minutes. It’s the 15th century Parisian monk. And the story goes that his life goal was devoted to the practice of the presence of God.
I like that the practice of the presence of God. The story is interesting because he lives in a monastery, but he’s not like just like a normal guy. He’s actually the dishwasher and the cook in the monastery.
And so what happened is that he would write letters to and from people all over Europe and about this idea of practicing God’s presence. And after his death, the people who had received those letters began to collect them for this little book. And I highly recommend it again. You can read it in like 20 minutes. But here’s a quote I love. He says this The time of business does not. Sorry, there’s a slide here. The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer.
And in the noise and the clutter of my kitchen, while serving persons or several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God as a great tranquility, as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is the most kind of important moment in the monk’s day when the monks really life, but he says, look, it’s no better than rush hour right before dinner. I possess God either way, I don’t have to be on my knees in a church building to have the presence of God with me, I possess him in the clutter and in the chaos of my life, I possess Jesus in rush hour traffic.
I have connection to Holy Spirit’s work while I’m while I’m doing I’m doing all my home stuff. He’s with me when I sit and when I rise. And on the road, when someone cuts me off, I possess the presence of God. And in the office I’m with him and in and when my kids are making me angry, he’s on my mind. And in the middle of the night when the baby is crying I have connection to the spirit. I possess him, I’m still connected to the vine. I will not separate myself from the presence of God and I don’t know about you, but I ache for that. I’m not doing it great. I want it, though. How life changing would it be if you could at any given moment escape the world and just for a moment contemplate the beauty of God or the beauty of his word?
Just escape. I crave that kind of relationship where I have God’s word and his thoughts, just marinating my life. I’ve used this quote a lot from Dallas Willard and by the way, most of the series is like a combination of a lot of different books, but I would say primarily focused on three Dallas Willard books from my study and the other people who are teaching. It’s called The Divine Conspiracy. Another book I recommend, The Great Omission, and the Spirit of the Disciplines, is three books there.
If you want that stuff, you can email me and I’ll send you the stuff. But but here’s a quote. I read this a couple of months ago. But but I think it’s just so powerful. Says the first and most basic thing we can do, we can and must do is to keep God before our minds. The first and most basic thing is to keep God before our minds. This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls.
So many of us are like, I need a soul caring, you know, I need to go on a retreat center. I need to get some help. Like the first and most basic way of caring for your soul is keeping God before your mind. Our part and thus practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to him. In the early times of our practicing, we may well be challenged by our burdensome habits of dwelling on things less than God.
But these are habits, not the law of gravity, and can be broken. A new grace filled habit will replace the former one as we take intentional steps towards keeping God before us. Soon our mind will return to God as the needle of a compass consistently, constantly returns to the north. If God is the great longing for our souls, he will become the polestar of our inward being. It’s a habit to have our brains draw away to the temporary, but it can be broken by constantly redirecting our thoughts back into the presence of God.
You can break this habit. You can live in a state of awareness and connection to the Holy Spirit, but it does take a lifetime of practice. William Pole said this. He says It’s unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual, haphazard manner. I’m going to read that again because it’s so important. It’s unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual or haphazard manner.
There will be a need for some intentional commitment and some reorganization in our own in our own lives. But there is nothing that will enrich our lives more than a deep and clear perception of God’s presence in the routine of our daily living. There is nothing, no technique, no income level, I’ll find peace when I make one hundred thousand dollars. No, you won’t. No you won’t. I’ll find peace when I get into the right relationships or when I get married or when I when I leave this kind of singleness or when I get single or whatever, when I have children that will enrich my soul. Nothing will enrich your soul, like being able to practice the presence of God and the routine parts of your day. And you and I know this.
We need to keep it ever before us. The practice. The practice each week, what we’re going to do is actually going to have, in addition to a sermon we’re going to give you a practice. Every week, we give you this is what you can do to practice this lesson. And so I’ll give you that at the very end. But but I’m really excited about that because it gives us something to do as we leave here, something to practice in our community, something practice in our lives and within our family.
But before we the reason why we’re doing these practices, there’s a thing called spiritual disciplines.
You never know if you ever heard this, but there are things that you do to get sort of connected to God.
You know, and this is not an exhaustive list, but silence is a spiritual discipline, prayer, fasting, reading your Bible, practicing the Sabbath, all these things we’re giving you, these habits. I like I like habits more than disciplines. Maybe the spiritual habits. You know, we’re giving you these things because we want you to to change. Right. To grow in your relationship with God.
And so there’s two little notes before I get into the practice that I want to make. One is that these practices are not spiritual in and of themselves.
Every single one is an ends to a means. Like, you don’t read your Bible just to read the Bible. That’s not what you read your Bible, you read your Bible to spend time with God and to be transformed by his word. The point of prayer is that prayer and fasting isn’t fasting. Those are just ends to a means. Do you get what I’m saying? And so because of that, I don’t want you to become crazy legalistic about this.
If I say to you, hey, why don’t you have a practice for this week? If you think hopefully you don’t hear me saying if you don’t do this, you’re not a Christian. That’s not what I’m saying. In the Bible, morality is commanded. Spiritual, thriving is an invitation. I’m hoping to invite you to something that I believe could be flourishing in your life.
So before we get to the practice, let’s take a look at the Book of Genesis I’m sorry, the book of Galatians Galatians, Chapter five. And then we’re going to wrap it all up. I promise. I want you to pay close attention to this. This is Galatians, Chapter five. Remember Jesus’s analogy of the vine and the fruit? Listen to this in context of Galatians chapter five verse for 16. He says, So I say the apostle Paul speaking walk by the spirit and you’re not gratify the desires of the flesh for the flesh desires was contrary to the spirit and the spirit, which is contrary to the flesh.
They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. And then he says the acts of the sinful nature are obvious and he lists a whole bunch of things that are clear as you live by the flesh and not by the spirit. Verse twenty two, but the fruit of the spirit.
The fruit singular is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such a thing there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with the passions desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. In my humble opinion, this is probably the most misinterpreted passage of the entire Bible.
The fruit of the spirit becomes a list of things to do. People are like, How is your joy this week? Get more joyful, you know? And then you talk to people in there like, you know what I want this week, joy and joy, you know? And then what happens is you have willpower for like thirty minutes of joy. You know, you wake you’ve done this, you know, you’re sleeping, and then you wake up and you go, today, I will be at peace.
And then you see your children and the peace is gone. You know, it’s just totally gone. Today I will be in love with my wife. And then, you know, something happens. You’re like I you know, there’s a problem with us and there’s certainly a time to, first peter, Chapter one talks about this. Add to your, you know, like make every effort to add to your faith, blah, blah. Right. That’s not what Paul saying here at all.
He’s not telling you to be more loving or to find more joy. He’s not telling you that at all. He’s not telling you, hey, go be more loving this week. Go be more joyful this week. The reason he’s not telling you that is because that doesn’t work.
It just doesn’t. You can’t be more loving. You can act the more loving. You can’t be more joyful, you can act more joyful for about five minutes, you can’t. By about nine forty five in the morning, though all that willpower is Gonzo. Paul does not command you to be more loving, to be more joyful at any of those things. In fact, there is only one command in this passage, one command. Well, it’s like but it’s repeated twice.
It’s this: walk by the spirit. Second command keep in step with the spirit. You can’t be more loving, joyful or patient or peaceful or whatever, but you can constantly open up yourself to the Holy Spirit. You can practice the presence of God and allow that from the inside out to transform you.
This is so important, the command is not simply be more loving, the command is walk in the spirit, connect yourself to God, keep your mind on things that are heavenly and not on earthly things, abide in his word, abide in his love, stay connected to the scriptures, have it marinate over your life, think about constantly draw your brain back to the presence and the glory of God. That’s the practice here. And the result by constant connection to the vine you will have fruit, the fruit of the spirit.
So how do you do this? Well, if you’re a type A person, you’re just telling me, just tell me what to do now so that tomorrow I feel more joy because I don’t feel joy right now, but I want to feel it tomorrow. And I get that, you know, by the afternoon, you know, you’ll have put all these things into practice. I appreciate you type A people because you’re like me.
But here’s the encouragement, like how do we walk in the spirit or keep in step of the spirit or abide in the vine or whatever you want to call it, in the chaos of the urban digital world where ticktock everywhere and your phone is on your wrist and a watch form now and social media is everywhere and text alerts are ringing in your in your pocket right now. Like right now, you guys, we’re drawn.
You’re in church away from church to something else. How do you do this? Well, you have two kids or three kids or some of you unlucky ones, five kids, I don’t know how many kids you have. Well well, it’s really it’s really simple. You ready for this? And this is, again, the idea. If you want to experience the life of Jesus, then you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.
Let me say it again. If you want to experience the life of Jesus, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. You wanna have an impact in the world? Then you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.
Look, if you want to live like Christ, your life is just a byproduct of your lifestyle, Annie Dillard said. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. And think, you know, just think about it for a second, what is the fruit you’re getting right now in your life? Oh, sorry, I didn’t put them as like. Is it stress, anxiety, workaholism, or are you materialistic, do you have fear and constant disappointment?
If it is, then I guess that your life doesn’t look a lot like Jesus’s life. If your life is full of fear, your life doesn’t look a lot like Jesus’s life, if your life is filled with anxiety, your life doesn’t look a lot like Jesus’s life. I’m just letting you know if your life is unhealthy, you feel like, you know, you can’t just seem to break from the constant sense of overwhelm the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Then your life doesn’t look a lot like Jesus’s life, you know. I know this because Jesus was at peace at the cross. The Bible says that for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. What we know about Jesus is lifestyle is that he lived unhurried. He lived in community. He had a lot of time with with with friends, he drank wine and ate food with people who were far from God. He spent a lot of time alone.
He slept a lot multiple times in the Gospels. You see him sleeping. I love that because I love sleeping. He Sabbathed which means he stopped. You’d see him at the synagogue every week, participating with community. He lives simply. And here’s the thing that kind of like the freaky thing. You know, after all that and that lifestyle, Jesus was at peace even in the most difficult time of his life. He had patience even when people were trying to kill him.
That’s pretty amazing, don’t you yearn for that? Don’t you want that? Well, if you want to experience that life, then you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus or the practices of Jesus. There’s a quote that’s kind of been like crushing my heart, I’m sorry I’m giving you so many quotes, but whatever it’s this, it says, it’s not as though we don’t it’s not as though we do not love God.
We love God deeply. We just don’t know how to sit with God anymore.
It’s intense, right? We love them, we just don’t know how to be with him. We just don’t know how to stop and connect and leave the chaos of our phones away. We don’t know how to do it. We’re over-busy. We live Go, go, go lives were constantly on our phone. Digital addiction is a huge problem.
We buy way more than we need that we’re not getting enough sleep. We cram in things for every single second of the day. We never really stop. And we wonder why we’re not a peace. Now, why am I stressed out, Holy Spirit, to help me and the Holy Spirit, like, just calm down. It’s like you take some things out of your schedule. Maybe you’ll be better.
Look, you start to take on the lifestyle of Jesus. You start arranging your life to the template, he said. And over time, you’ll begin to live at peace over time, after years and years and years. Last quote. The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right. Isn’t that, like such a shot in your gut, the general human feeling is to want what is right but not want to do what it takes to get what is right, man.
This is the future feature of human characteristics of character that explains why the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We intend what is right, but we avoid the life that would make it a reality. We do with everything right. Like I want to get in shape, but nobody wants to exercise. Like I want to learn a second language, but I don’t want to, like, learn a second language. I want to have a second language by osmosis.
You know, we want to be apprentices. We want joy. We want peace. We want it. We want it. That’s not the problem. The problem is we’re not willing to rearrange our life to get it.
Now, please don’t misinterpret me. I’m not trying to give you a guilt trip. I’m on the same path as you. I have a cell phone. You know, I have a wife and children. I have an Instagram account. I have a job like like I get it. It’s really hard. But I’m committed to changing my lifestyle so I can begin to practice the way of Jesus. Now, if it sounds overwhelming, just take a breath.
Like literally take a breath and heed these two thoughts, I guess is really one thought. I want to give you some advice before I give you the practice, I guess this is the practice you practice in the advice of the same thing. Here we go. This is the advice. One more breath. This is what I encourage you to do simplify your life down to what really matters. Slowly cut out all the extra unnecessary activities and then add in one at a time the practices of Jesus.
I will give you some practices. These are practices to be with, Jesus will come back to that slide of promise, silence and solitude. Spend some time in the morning just in quiet. The first thing that most of us do is we reach over and grab our phone. I read a study that says we touch our phone twenty seven hundred times a day. Twenty seven hundred times.
Silence and solitude, just fasting. Take a day, once a month maybe, and just fast. Scripture reading, how are you doing in just a quiet times, fixed time of prayer, just stop and have a time to pray for an hour, a day before I go to bed, or a half hour before I go to sleep or wake up.
Whatever living community had some people around you. When you get around each other, throw away your phones, don’t run away, but put them away. Sabbath or a time or a day or certain amount of period just to stop.
Sunday worship, you’re doing it. Amen. Simple living. Stop thinking you need more and you need more and you need more and you need more, be content with what you’ve been given right now. What you want to do is you want to simplify your life down to what really matters, slowly cut out the extra unnecessary activities and then add all those things in one at a time. This might take months. This might take years. But the idea is that we live in a noisy world that does violence to our soul.
And that not only drags into just our everyday life, but it does drag into our ability to be with God, I want to leave you with this. There is a life waiting for you. Come and see, that’s the invitation of Jesus, come and see if you will just quiet your mind, if you would just spend time in the presence of God, redirecting your thoughts back to him constantly. There is a calm right in the middle of all this noise.
Jesus offers us life and life to the full and we can have it. Why don’t you begin to practice the presence of God and practice the way of Jesus?